More people turning to dogs for help with pandemic related stress

SPOKANE, Wash. — COVID-19 has impacted all of us in one way or another. For some, it’s taken a big toll on their mental health.

There are several options for help out there, but there’s one, in particular, that’s been a big hit during this pandemic.

Lindsey Graves, her husband, and their two boys picked up their new puppy back in October. They flew all the way from San Diego to Spokane for the big day.

“We got him essentially for the boys but he hangs out with me most of the day now that both boys are back working,” said Graves.

Graves says like so many, her stepsons were struggling during the pandemic.

“The isolation is not good for anybody, especially young kids when they’re suddenly pulled away from all their friends and all their community. It was just really hard,” said Graves.

After months of searching, she came across Dogology Northwest, an organization that pairs dogs with families depending on their needs. Those needs typically range from autism all the way to PTSD.

“I didn’t know that dogs were going to be part of the relief of the pandemic,” said Mary Davies, CEO of Dogology NW.

“We’re staying a lot busier training all the new trainees coming in as well as making sure all of our dogs are staying up to par,” said Blake Yensen, Lead trainer with Dogology NW.

Each dog is trained differently, but the main purpose is to help their own when they’re in need.

“They can realize we’re in distress and then once they interrupt that they realize it’s gone. They figure out how to do that and they replicate it,” said Yensen.

Not many people realize the impact a dog can have.

“You see people and you’re like ‘Oh that’s just a crazy dog person.’ They have to take their dog everywhere kind of thing. Then you get one and you just want to take your dog everywhere with you because they bring you so much joy,” said Graves.